European Centre for Zoroastrian Studies

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When Zarathustra’s ideas changed the world. Do you know how?
Do you know
the Zoroastrian Existential Philosophy was the first humanitarian and liberating revolution in history?
In particular, women found equality with men. “the Persian women enjoyed the unprecedented liberty through the whole Antiquity, thanks to Zarathustra’s reform.
Before, the women were real slave, like for Aristotle, the women had no soul” Paul du Breuil;History of Zoroastrian Philosophy, Paris 1984. p.110) It was thanks to Zarathustra’s reform, the Persians had learned that “the truth does not belong to any people, any country, any race” (Gerard Israel; Cyrus the Great, Paris 1987, p.264 271; see also, Plato; The Laws, chapter the Persians III 693,694

Do you know
it was within the Zoroastrian Culture, which permitted the abandoning of all the religious dogmas and formalisms that the first declaration of Human Rights was drawn up, in the 6th century BC, under Cyrus the Great ?
According to this chart, engraved 2542 years ago on a clay prism, and preserved today in the British Museum, the people of the Empire could enjoy the freedom of faiths, languages, customs, owning property and choice of the place of abode: “I have granted to all humans the liberty to worship their own gods and ordered that no-one could ill-treat them for this. I ordered that no house should be destroyed. I guaranteed peace and tranquility for all humans. I recognized the right of everyone to live in peace in the country of his choice …”
( W. Eilers; The cuneiform text of the Cyrus’ cylinde , Acta Iranica, tome II, 1974; I.Quiles, Analysis of the principles in cylinder of Cyrus, Acta Iranica, tome I 1973; Gerard Israel; Cyrus the Great, op cit. pp.268-269)
Do you know
It was also in this Zoroastrian context that the Jews were liberated from their Babylonian captivity by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC. and the Temple of Jerusalem, destroyed in the 7th century BC. by the Babylonian Nabuchodonosor, was rebuilt by Darius?
The Jewish prophets such as Isaiah, Hezekiah, Daniel, Jeremy named Cyrus in the Bible “The Saviour”. (See, E.Yamauchi; Persia and the Bible, New York 1990)

The liberation of the Jewish people by Cyrus, the reconstruction of the temple of Jerusalem by Darius and the gathering of the traditions of the Torah by Artaxerxes – the three Zoroastrian kings of Persia – and the massive return of Jews from their Babylonian captivity provoked a beneficial review of the ancient Jewish laws. The prophets of Israel then included, with a great lyricism, the Zoroastrian vision into the New Laws The Jewish prophets such as Isaiah, Hezekiah, Daniel, Jeremy named Cyrus in the Bible “The Saviour”. (See, E.Yamauchi; Persia and the Bible, New York 1990; G. Israel; Cyrus le Grand, op.cit. pp. 270-295)

Do you know
the Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers constantly used Zarathustra’s name as a symbol of knowledge, and astonishingly, many of them sheltered their philosophical or scientific work under the cover of his authority ?.
This passion for Zarathustra in the West had started from the 5th century BC. In this period the Persians, dominating world affairs, had set up a huge empire made of 46 nations including Greece, Egypt and India. East and West were unified in the first tic universal empire, and this was to last for over 200 years.
It was an established belief that the great philosophers such as Pythagoras, Plato and many others had studied at the school of Zarathustra.
(See J. Duchesne-Guillemin: The Western Response to Zarathustra; Oxford 1958; M. Afnan; Zoroaster’s Influence on Greek Thought; New York 1965; J.A. Farrell; The Influence of Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism on Western Culture, Sydney 1977).

Do you know
the whole Zoroastrian existential philosophy, proclaimed 3743 years ago, is aimed to make the earth a happy planet, where all the living beings, men, women, animals and plants lead a joyful and happy life ?
In his short book, the “Gathas” more than 75 times the word “happiness” has been repeated. ( see the Gathas of zarathustra)

Do you know
The gist of Zarathustra’s ideas expressed more than 3000 years earlier was brought to the limelight in 1883, just a few years after the rediscovery of the texts of the Zarathustra’s songs, the Gathas, by one of the greatest philosophers of our time, Friedrich-Wilhelm Nietzsche, in his book “Thus Spake Zarathustra”?.
This work radically changed the European thought of modern times.
(See, James Farrell; The Influence of Zarathustra on Western Culture, 1990 Sydney)

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